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Glass Case

January 25, 2013

I tend to find myself back here during the highest highs and lowest lows of parenting. Sometimes, all the emotions and worries and concerns and questions of parenthood can’t be put into spoken word. It spills out faster than I can say and so my fingers do the job instead, a dancing flurry over the keyboard, desperate to capture what it is that is now pumping inside my heart – whether it be anger, frustration, and sadness or pure, indescribable joy.

We’re expecting our second in May. A baby brother for our Peach! Or, as she puts it, a “bay-bee brudduh”!

Most of the time, I am eager for that day to arrive. For our two little loves to meet and to begin what I pray will be a lifelong relationship of kindred friendship, respect, love, and loyalty. Every night, we pray for these two little ones – that God is already ministering in their hearts and knitting them together so that they will always share a piece of the same tapestry – one that covers our family with love, love, and more love.

Other days, I struggle. The last few days, our peach has brought her screech back with some reckoning. This tends to happen after a stretch of “glory days” – days where I find myself wondering how I got so lucky – how could this beautiful, fun, imaginative, hilarious, curious, incredible child be mine? Each day eases into another and I wake looking forward eagerly to creating more memories with this precious girl. I start to get really comfortable and think, “Well, this isn’t so hard! Maybe we’ve done it right! Maybe we’ve figured it out!”

Oh yes, the ultimate mistake of parents. Getting ahead of yourself.

Then comes the humbling.

The kind of days where I find myself now. Lost. Hopeless. Frustrated beyond belief and angry that parenting is so much about giving, giving, giving, giving, giving…and then waiting with patience and hope that it all registers somehow. That the prayers and the reminders for “good manners” and the pleases and the no thank yous and the I’m sorrys will somehow stick someday.

She is such a bright and beautiful girl. But the stubbornness. OH THE STUBBORNNESS.

The last few days, the tears and whines have come at the drop of a hat. One minute she’s laughing and dancing and singing. The next minute, VOLCANIC ERUPTION OF UNCONTAINABLE EMOTIONSSSSSSS….

I swear, at the worst of it, sometimes I can hear Will Ferrell somewhere in the background….

“I’m trapped in a glass case of emotionnnnnnn.”

I feel you, Will, I feel you.

And so does my daughter, apparently.

I know this is nothing new or revolutionary. She turns two in just about two weeks. I’ve heard of the terrible twos.

But when you’re at the start of it and she isn’t even two yet, and you know you have at the very minimum a whole year of this hot and cold behavior in front of you…well, it’s all quite terrifying to be frank.

But there is grace. No matter what the day is like, at the end, I am still down on my knees thankful that this little bundle of mystery is mine on loan from our God. That He has entrusted me with this precious gift, and, whether I get through the days through tears or laughter, all that matters to me is that she’s here with me. That this messy, crazy, intense, confusing, and, sometimes, insane life is ours.

A broken, beautiful life.

* * *

“Peachisms” at age 23 Months

  • Singing her ABCs at all hours of the day – she can sing most of it on her own, except she fuddles through the LMNO part. I don’t blame you, Peach! Those are some toughies.
  • She loves when I sing “Grown Ups Come Back” (from Daniel Tiger) before I put her down for a nap.
  • She’s going through a phase where she finds everything “tary” (scary). We’ve been trying to build her faith and courage by reciting “Mighty Warrior, the Lord is with you!” when this happens and reminding her that she is NEVER alone.
  • She is still completely bonkers over her “pigeon” (penguin) that Aunt J gave her for her dohl. That’s her buddy and they do everything together.
  • “Mo-ee” = more

Merry Christmas and more

December 25, 2012

Dear Peach,

Today, you celebrated your second Christmas. We spent it much as we did last year and, before you were born, the four years preceding that. We woke up, got dressed, and spent the morning celebrating over breakfast and presents with Weh Halmuni and Harabuji, and Eemo and Eemoboo. Your bff was there of course, and this year we were blessed to have your new baby cousin join us as well.

Afterwards, we packed up the car and drove to church for morning service. You fell asleep in the car and abba kept you company while you finished your nap and umma headed into church. After service, we picked up Chinese and went to umma’s best friend’s house, to celebrate with the “L Dynasty” family. We were there from around 1pm until 9pm and you were a complete trooper, even while skipping your second nap.

You fell asleep on the way home, and we woke you up to bring you inside. You didn’t enjoy that very much and we ended the night trying to get you to calm down while we hurriedly changed you into your jammies, gave you your milk and water, prayed over you, and sang your bedtime lullabye, “Amazing Grace.” I felt badly that you were so exhausted (very understandably so after the past few days of holiday celebrations), but I hope you will understand that sometimes, even when we are tired, there are occasions worth spending extra time over – sharing important moments with friends and family in celebration and fellowship can be as important as any worship. Building relationships, strengthening friendships, serving others, and just showing up when love needs to be shown…we can do that for each other, even if convenience or comfort needs to be tossed out the window for a time. Christmas is a special time of year, not because of the presents we receive/give, the days off work we enjoy, the cookies and cakes we eat, etc. It’s special because it’s a day that symbolizes the crux of our faith. Our Lord and Savior was born to this Earth – sent with love and sacrifice by our Heavenly Father, to walk with us, to experience what we experience, to suffer, to love, to grow, to deliver, to experience, to save…so that He might be our Friend, our Confidante, our Savior, and our Redeemer. His birth began the script of our story. We are because He was. I hope this is something you will come to know and understand on a personal level, and with greater wisdom than your own umma. I believe you were created to be used mightily, my dear daughter. You are a mighty warrior and you already have in you, from the moment you were born, everything you could possibly need (AND MORE) to live out the incredible adventure God has planned for you. So you need never be afraid. You never need to question or worry or doubt. You have everything you need and more – all of it, right in you.

This evening, as I kissed you good night, it was hard for me to leave the room. I wanted to hold you and apologize for every shortcoming I’ve already had to you. My love grows for you deeper and deeper each day, and I know that I can never be enough. I can never give you as much as I want to give, I can never be the mother I want to be, I can never fully satisfy the hunger I have to show you what you mean to me. I am so thankful that even when I am not enough, God fills the space and He supplies everything that is lacking. He makes us complete and we can have confidence and assurance knowing this!

I am emotional tonight, my Peach. My little screechy peachy who is already growing to be such a sweet, talented, loving, funny, intriguing, interesting, exciting, joyous, adventurous, smart, stubborn, wild, and beautiful girl. Tomorrow, we find out whether you will be a noona or an unnie and, as excited as I am by that, and as happy as I am for the little baby inside me, tonight I am reminded of how fast time flies and how moments slip by. It seems like not so very long ago that we were counting down each agonizing minute until we had our own scan with you. My pregnancy with you crawled by week by week – I couldn’t wait for the next scan to see you again, or to learn a little about you! That’s not to say I don’t love this baby every bit as much. It’s just that this time around, everything seems to be going by so fast and I’m left clutching at it, instead of willing it to go from milestone to milestone. The baby inside me is already 20 weeks old. Slow down! My little Peach is already almost 2 years old. Slow down!

I want all of it to slow down. I want more of what we have right now. More of your sweet babyness and your hilarious toddlerhood and the soft, gentle flutters of the baby inside me. I love what we have, even when it is utterly exhausting. And yet, each moment brings more joy than I could have imagined. You bring more joy than I could have imagined.

Thank you, my Peach, for making umma so happy just by being you. You are exactly as God has created you, and I hope you will never, ever lose that or feel that you have to change or hide the beautiful creation God has made with you. To thine own self be true, just as God created you. I am so proud of you, my Peach. Keep growing, keep exploring, keep questioning, keep asking, keep seeking…but through it all, keep growing also in the Lord. Keep exploring the paths God has set before you. Keep questioning the laws of the world. Keep asking God for His counsel and wisdom. Keep seeing what is right and true, what lies deep in you.

I pray you and this baby will share a lifelong bond of love, respect, loyalty, and deep friendship. I believe God will honor this prayer and I thank Him for it. I can write and write and never say enough of what is in my heart tonight. But this is my attempt. And, if anything is to come of it, it is this…

I love you.

You are my life’s masterpiece.

You are my shining star.

You are my miracle.

You are my little girl.

And you always will be.

Love,

Your umma

Head Bang

July 11, 2012

Dear Screechy Peachy,

Please. stop. driving. umma. nuts.

It has been a LONG two weeks.

Cut. me. a. break.

I love you,

Umma

Today

July 2, 2012

I felt compelled to write today. I felt it all day long, with no real rhyme or reason to it.

About an hour ago, I realized you are turning 17 months old tomorrow. Tonight, when I kissed you good-night, it was the last time I would kiss my darling 16-month old’s cheeks. If I had known it as I said those good-nights, I would have kissed you one more time. And then a dozen times more. And probably shed a tear or two or ten.

I fell in love with you today.

That happens sometimes. I love you every day, of course, but there are moments when I notice it as it’s happening. My love growing. That stretch. That pain as my heart tries to bear the weight of something so huge, so vast, so incredible, it hurts. I love you my little, darling, sweet, spicy, spunky, beautiful, perfect screechy peachy.

We found out that you will have another girl cousin to match the sweet one you already have. I can already imagine all the adventures that lie ahead. We’re counting the days till you two (no, three now!) will be old enough for a family trip to Sesame Street. And Disney World of course!! Our family is so, so blessed to have you girls.

But as excited as I am, and thrilled for your eemo and eemo-boo, today, I am consumed by you. Before bed tonight, I lay down on the bed with you to brush your teeth since abba was out playing basketball. You love this time every night, and usually abba will talk to you as he scrubs away. But tonight, you were all mine. And for some reason, as I brushed, I felt compelled to pray. I prayed with your eyes fixed on me. I prayed for protection, and happiness, and safety, and faith, and health, and joy, and peace in your life. I prayed that you would walk every day in God’s footsteps. That He would lead you and guide you and counsel you and be with you. That He would be your Father, your Counselor, your Savior, and your Friend. That you would know true friendships and deep love from a man who loves you second (and a close one at that) only to God. That our families would be close and sincere and without conflict. That you would never have to choose between us and them. That your marriage would be a testament to a true unity of families, and that you would be blessed with beautiful children and a long, happy life. Happiness. It’s what I’ve prayed for you since before I can remember. All I want for you is happiness. All life brings with it some tears and trials. It’s impossible to escape, and you won’t know real happiness without some of it. But even in the midst of them, I pray you will know happiness. That happiness (true, real, pure happiness) will exist at the core of you.

You’ve always had a hard time waking up from sleep. 95% of the time, you wake up crying. One second you’re sleeping, the next second you’re up wailing. It makes me sad, but it also, admittedly, makes me a little mad. I try to comfort you, pick you up, hold you, offer you milk, offer you a snack, walk you around, play peekaboo. Lately, nothing I try works. It only seems to enrage you more. You wake up in your crib crying your head off, but the minute I try to pick you up, you fling your head back and try to lunge out of my arms. Usually, the tantrum ends randomly. You decide oh wait, I DO want that toy after all! Or hmmm all of a sudden umma holding me is exactly what I want! I used to be frantic, thinking there was something seriously wrong! A month of this, and seeing how happy, cheerful, upbeat, and perfectly healthy you are after you finally decide you are good and ready to stop crying, and I’m a little…skeptical. Methinks there is a little drama-mama going on around these parts. What say you?

Today, this went on for 50 minutes straight. About 20 minutes in, after running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out what would stop the tears this time, I gave up. I removed all your toys from the pack and play in our room, and placed you inside. I wiped the tears from your face, brushed your tear-soaked, sweat-drenched hair from your eyes, told you as calmly as I could through gritted teeth that I loved you, but that I. would. not. participate. in. this. anymore.

When you are ready, mommy will be right here for you.

You cried in there for another 20 minutes. When your tears and screams and cries were a little less…violent…I would try to pick you up. You threw your head back and lunged out of my arms again. I would then place you back inside, repeat that I’m here, I love you, I will always be here for you, but I’m not going to participate in this type of behavior, and I would walk away. Sometimes I would stay in eye’s view, straightening things in the dresser drawers or dusting. Other times, I would walk out of the room for a little reprieve from the shrieks, and grab something from the kitchen.

Finally.

FINALLY.

You let me pick you up. And you snuffled and shook and sobbed (more gently this time however), and clung onto me.

Oh my goodness.

How I love you.

You are my sweet treasure, my precious little girl, and nothing will change that. I love you from your tippy toenails (that you will not let me clip!!) to the yogurt-smeared hair on your head!

No matter what. No matter how hard this is or how hard it gets, you are my firstborn, my beautiful daughter, the child that has changed my life forever.

It is hard. I want it to be clear. Parenting is not easy and I am constantly sore and exhausted and frazzled from trying to figure out how the heck to make it out alive.

But.

Oh my word.

The way your eyes stared directly into mine as I brushed those teeth and prayed over you. You were listening, I know it. And then, after the Amen, how your eyes crinkled and that sweet giggle of yours bubbled out. Unforgettable.

The way we escaped to Trader Joe’s after your meltdown. You showed me “I’m sorry” in the car as I strapped you in. And we kissed and hugged and I told you how much I love you. Then at the store, we walked around, trying to stick to our grocery list but making a couple of impulse buys. For you. For abba. For our family. Every few steps, I couldn’t resist. I stopped the cart, wrapped my arms around you and asked for kisses. You shared them generously (something that doesn’t always happen) and were all smiles and chuckles and laughs. As though you knew you had put your mom through the wringer and needed a fill-up on kisses! And then the little bouncy butt of joy when I handed you a lemon cookie from the sample kiosk. Cookie! Before dinner! Yum! We had fun, my little girl and I.

Today was an ordinary day filled with extraordinary moments.

I love these days.

Being a Mama

May 8, 2012

It’s another typical weekday. My Peach is with Ms. C at homecare. I’m home taking a quick break from work to find a snack and to clear my head. TG is at work, where he got a promotion yesterday (GO TG!!!).

And life continues.

Our Peach is now 15 months old (May 3) and officially weaned off her bottle! It took some time and countless retries, but we have officially bid our bottle buddies goodbye! We basically followed the same routine of progressive weaning, by offering less milk in the bottle each day followed up by more milk in the straw cup. After a week, we got rid of the bottle altogether and offered only the straw cup. Within a few days, Peach became resigned to her straw cup and has been doing pretty well with it, drinking about 12-16oz of milk per day supplemented with her daily yogurt and cheese for calcium.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about. Today, I want to talk about persistence.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a toughie. I think Peach was going through another round of teething last week becaues she was dripping drool like a broken faucet, and waking up at 5:45am!! She would start stirring at 4:30am, and by 5:45am she was ready to get out of that bed. Ohhh, the agony!

She seems to be back on track with her sleep for the most part, although she did wake up at 1:30am last night crying. After some Advil and some holding for about 15 minutes, I put her back down and she went back to sleep. Holy Hallelujah.

It’s times like these that being a mama takes persistence.

When it’s been rainy and gloomy for what feels like weeks. When your baby isn’t terribly sick, but just “off” and becomes a demanding, shrieking, fussy mess. When you’ve already eaten too many cookies and really need to fix your eating habits, but all you want to do is stuff your face with another Frappacino and a monstrous Rice Krispy treat from Starbucks. When your husband is tired and you are tired, and all you can manage to do is get through the day before you collapse on the bed.

It’s hard to be a mama when you don’t remember the last time you felt beautiful. The last time you looked in the mirror and thought, “hey, not bad!” Instead, I look and see hair twisted this way and that, smudged glasses, the same sweater from yesterday still stained with Peach’s dinner, and jeans that cling a little too snugly. Same same same same same.

It’s hard to be a mama when you have dishes to wash, a house to keep clean as you try to find renters, a baby with picky eating habits to feed, a husband to stay connected with, friends it is impossible to see because they either don’t have babies and, hence, no schedules or do have babies and, hence, schedules, and a sister you miss but never see anymore either because one of your babies is sick or she is sick with nausea from her second pregnancy or I am sick with yet another sinus infection and sore throat.

It’s hard to be a mama when your baby won’t listen. When she is the most fabulous, intelligent, spirited, fun baby you know, but that also equates to a lot of demands, a lot of insistences, a lot of overwhelming feelings that she doesn’t understand…which mudroll into a great big pile of emotional tantrums. It’s hard to be a mama when your baby wants what she wants and yet doesn’t know what it is she is wanting.

And in times like these, I stop. I make myself a fresh pot of coffee. I sit. I remember.

I remember how last night Peach was walking around, so cute with her belly sticking out. But so frustrating as well as she would just not listen! And every other sound out of her body was another squalling dinosaur sound. My little teradactyl.

And I remember how she would refuse to give me a hug or a kiss. Umma bbobbo! Umma bbobbo! I would plead. She would walk towards me…smiling…so close…and at the last moment, turn away and run.

And so I did what any mother would. I grabbed her! I scooped her up! I breathed her scent in and I buried my face in her belly. To make her laugh. To claim my kiss and to hold my baby and to love on her. I love my precious little girl.

And then I remember. My favorite part. My highest of highs from yesterday. She lay in my arms as I sat on the floor. I saw a little “bat in her cave” so I started singing a little song to distract her while I got it out. “A bat in the cave! A bat in the cave! High ho the dairy-o a bat in the cave! DING!” (I don’t know why the ding was in there…it just came out but she seemed to love it!) I sang this about two times to get the little stubborn bat out. When I had gotten the little critter, I was all prepared for Peach to run away again. But no, she lay there and gave her signature sound – EUNG! with a little pop of her body.

“More? You want more?”

“EUNG!”

“Show me. Show me ‘more'”!

Her little hands go up to meet – one index finger poking at the palm of the opposite hand.

“Good job! Okay! The bat in the cave! The bat in the cave! Heigh-ho the dairy-o a bat in the cave! DING!”

Laughter. Pure, pure laughter.

More signing. “More More More”

Over and over again. We sat there for a good 10 minutes singing this song. I felt the warmth and weight of her body in my arms. I snuck gentle rubs of her cheek between pokes of her nose. I watched her eyes watch me. I fell in love all over again.

This is what being a mama is. These moments captured in the most unexpected times. When you think it is just another night, another evening. When you are down on yourself, and questioning, and begging for some sunshine.

And then you look. And your daughter is watching. She is wanting you. And it’s all for something as simple as a made-up ditty, singing about a bat in the cave. When that time comes, when you feel like it is just another day of giving and cleaning and wiping and teaching and changing and preparing and doing…remember this: sunshine may come in the form of the most mundane. Even something as simple as a little booger, refusing to make its exit.

Hope you are having a good day, my screechy peachy. Mommy loves you.

The Irony of Parenthood

April 24, 2012

One of the greatest ironies of parenthood is that you often find yourself the one undoing your own hard work. Case in point: We are now attempting to wean Peach off her bottle.

When Peach was an infant, we breastfed her. She had some formula at the hospital during the days she was in the NICU (to help fight her jaundice) but until 6 months she was predominantly breastfed. However, she didn’t seem to like it much. Actually, to be more accurate, she didn’t seem to like eating much.

Breastfeeding was such a struggle that we ended up meeting with two lactation consultants in person, and had multiple conversations with other lactation consultants by phone and through e-mail. In the end, we all came up empty-handed as to why Peach resisted eating/breastfeeding so much. Finally, even the lactation consultants gave up and advised me to pump and feed Peach breastmilk with a bottle, even with the knowledge that pumping can significantly decrease milk production.

I don’t really know why I continued.

Maybe it was my stubborness? My desire to bring something to the table to combat the complete helplessness I felt at Peach’s colic? My hunger to connect with this screaming, beautiful baby of mine in some way or form as she cried endlessly?

Or maybe a combination of all of the above.

We didn’t introduce a bottle until about 6 weeks old. When we did, I thought the bottle would bring a whole different realm of ease into our lives. We decided that we would start by having TG give her a bottle at bedtime with pumped breastmilk. However, we found that Peach didn’t like bottles any more than breastfeeding. If she drank 2oz, we did a dance of celebration. Usually, we were lucky to get 1oz into her. So, in the end, I continued to predominantly nurse Peach but, as she grew older, we supplemented with a bottle feeding here and there.

Feeding Peach involved what seemed like some sort of other-world ritual. She hated being held when she was fed, especially cradled in the crook of your arms, so we would lay her on her Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play and feed her there. We would have to keep the lights dim and the room devoid of any distractions, and would sing quietly to her while she drank. This was the only way to have her eat. It seemed crazy to us, as we had decided long ago that we would never be the type of parents who wait on their child hand and foot. It was better to teach them to join the family, to nap and eat on the go if necessary, and to be comfortable in all types of environments, than to have the world revolve around the baby.

Another irony of parenthood is that you will often find yourselves doing the exact opposite of what you had so fervently planned. Especially when colic comes into play.

During those days when Peach would eat 1-2oz per feeding (even at the age of 4 months), I had a hard time imagining her doing anything otherwise.

I don’t know how it happened, but one day Peach started feeding with much more ease. One day, she downed 7oz in one go while we were at church. I ran over to my mom on the other side of the room and started squeeling with excitement. It didn’t happen often at first, but gradually Peach started increasing her milk intake. It took months, but finally we got to the point where she was drinking between 24-26oz of milk per day!! I never thought it would happen. We had gotten so used to struggling with even 10oz of milk per day, 24oz seemed impossible.

And then.

Peach turned one. And it was time to switch her to milk.

Amazingly, that went a lot more smoothly than we had feared. We began by offering her a mix of 75% formula and 25% milk. Gradually, every few days, we adjusted the percentage to 50-50%, 25-75%, and finally 100% whole milk. We offered her an 8 oz bottle three times a day (when she woke up, at 2:30pm before her 3:30pm nap, and before she went to bed). It still took her about 2-3 tries to finish the botlte (usually within an hour), but she drank the milk and that was what mattered to us.

And then.

Our pediatrician highly recommended that we wean her off the bottle by 15 months. By then, the bottle would begin to affect her jaw structure and the health of her teeth. Typically, it is recommended to wean the baby off the bottle by 12 months, but by 15 months we were beginning to stretch it.

So here we are, yet again unraveling our work. It’s time to show Peach that we are moving on from the bottle, and we have a whole world of exciting straw cups to choose from!

Except she’s a smartie pants and she is not quite buying into the straw cup with milk excitement. She is pleased as punch to drink her water from the straw cup, no problem, but milk belongs in the bottle mom! You worked so hard to get me here, and you kept telling me how delicious milk in the bottle is! Don’t let that doctor fool you!

sigh

So here we are. On day 2 of the transition. We are offering less milk in the bottle followed up by milk in the straw cup. At this point, Peach drinks all the milk in her bottle – and then stops right there. The milk continues to sit in the straw cup. I suppose the next step will be to eliminate the bottle altogether and give her only the one straw cup option, but I have to admit I am dragging my feet a bit. I will do it in the next day or so, but I am not looking forward to it at all.

After this whole debacle, I can’t even imagine the joys of potty-training.

Yes

February 27, 2012
A friend shared this list with me, and I found it to be so incredibly spot on, I wanted to save it for posterity (to use myself for future reference, to share with my Peach when she is older, etc.). The list was originally written and posted by The Gypsy Mama and can be found at: http://thegypsymama.com/2012/02/100-ways-to-encourage-a-new-mom/. I saved the list in entirety here just in case the list got lost somewhere in the great, big world of the Internet (i.e. the site went down, the link broke somehow, etc.). This is one to keep on the record for sure!
100 Ways to Encourage a New Mom by The Gypsy Mama
  1. Fold her laundry – especially all the socks
  2. Leave immediately when the baby falls asleep so she can nap
  3. Bring chocolate
  4. Don’t tell her to call if she needs anything, just drop by and help with everything
  5. Take the big kids out for a play date
  6. Tell her she’s a hero
  7. Bring her food in disposable dishes so she doesn’t have to deal with washing or returning them
  8. Don’t tell her to carpe diem
  9. Cry with her
  10. Laugh with her
  11. Share details of what you love about her baby
  12. Watch Up All Night with her
  13. Don’t tidy your house before she comes over to visit – it doesn’t help her to think you have it all together
  14. Tell her a day will come when she will sleep again
  15. Make her a 2am nursing station on Pandora
  16. Email her a bunch of fun deals links she can surf while nursing
  17. Make sure she’s actually in 1 out of every 1,000 photos she’s taking {thanks Natalie for being that person for me!}
  18. Take candid pictures of her in the new daily routine
  19. Bring diapers when you visit
  20. Offer to drive her on errands and stay in the car with the baby
  21. Be honest about how hard motherhood can be
  22. Text her encouraging messages throughout the day
  23. Come over and hold the baby so she can have her arms back for a while to do chores or cook or catch up on anything that’s driving her crazy
  24. Tell her to keep her phone on vibrate so you can call without being “that person who woke the baby.”
  25. Don’t let her become isolated in the baby cocoon – invite her and the baby out so she can reconnect with friends
  26. Never expect her to show up anywhere on time
  27. Bring her lip gloss
  28. Massage her neck and shoulders
  29. Run her a hot bath
  30. Don’t imply that breast feeding should be a breezy walk in the park; let her know it’s normal to struggle sometimes getting the hang of it
  31. If she chooses to go the bottle route, please let her do so guilt free
  32. She is just discovering the hard world of mother guilt – please don’t do or say anything to add to that burden
  33. Don’t share any horror stories related to motherhood
  34. Protect her from turning on the news in her first few weeks of being home
  35. Vacuum
  36. Bring fresh flowers
  37. Take out any dried up bouquets
  38. Paint her toe nails
  39. Tell her she’s beautiful
  40. Don’t tell her by now your kids were all sleeping through the night
  41. Especially if by “sleeping through the night” you mean from 1am to 5am.
  42. Remember that your memories of new motherhood have the romantic haze of distance
  43. Wash her dishes without being asked
  44. If you come over for a meal, please bring the meal and then clean it all up afterwards
  45. Let her know it’s normal to stand hunched over a sleeping baby just listening to them breathe
  46. Anytime she is disappointed by her new figure remind her that she grew a human being – that’s a miracle and turns out miracles need room to grow
  47. Don’t bring over any magazines that feature celebrities in swimsuits 6 weeks after giving birth
  48. Ask her what the one chore is around the house she wishes she could get to and do it for her
  49. Always bring your camera when you visit
  50. Print and frame one of the zillion photos she emails of the baby; include baby’s name and birth date {it blew me away when my friends did this for  me!}
  51. Bring toys/games over for the older kids when you visit
  52. Tell her it’s OK to feel like you want to quit motherhood some days
  53. But tell her that Trace Adkins is right and she’s gonna miss this one day
  54. Don’t just make a hand print of the baby – make one of mom and/or dad’s too for a fun comparison keepsake
  55. Bring her a Memory Keeper Box for that hospital bracelet, first lock, or even those first few pairs of shoes or favorite toys
  56. If she has to go back to work, assure her God will be watching over that precious baby. She is brave if she gets up while it is still dark to provide for her family
  57. Tell her pizza covers all the food groups
  58. Hold the baby so she can get a shower
  59. Bring over the Pride and Prejudice (BBC Series) boxed set for all those dinner {for the baby} and a movie {for her} months
  60. Ask her which baby items she still needs – get her those instead of the cute clothes you have your eye on
  61. Assure her you understand that while she might know that she’s walking on holy ground, that doesn’t mean she won’t still feel irritated how often that ground is strewn with cracker crumbs and yesterday’s socks
  62. Admit motherhood is one of the hardest things you’ve ever done
  63. Go ahead and quote that goodie-but-oldie, “It’s not brave if you’re not scared.” {Thank you Ben Affleck}
  64. Warn her everyone will have an opinion on how she mothers but at the end of the day, hers is the only one that matters
  65. Assure her motherhood is not graded; some days just surviving is victory enough
  66. Tell her that drive-throughs are the best friends of mothers-with-sleeping-babies everywhere
  67. Keep a pack of Thank You Cards handy in case she freaks out late one night that she hasn’t thanked anyone for all the meals
  68. Never expect a thank you card from a sleep deprived new mom
  69. Tell her there is no such thing as “doing it all.” And especially no such thing as “doing it all perfectly.”
  70. Reassure her that sometimes the love and happiness in a home is directly proportional to the mess.
  71. Send a special prayer, encouragement or blessing addressed to the baby via snail mail
  72. Turn the music up and dance with her and the baby
  73. Suggest that the greatest Pandora station for soothing baby music that mama can also love has to be “Winter Song” by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles
  74. Take her (and the baby) for a walk
  75. Stock her fridge with necessities anytime you come over – like milk, bread, eggs, yogurt, ice cream etc – in case she isn’t up for grocery shopping
  76. Watch the baby for her while she goes grocery shopping
  77. Suggest she spend 15 extra minutes just reading in the magazine aisle
  78. Tell her it’s normal to be be smitten with newborn love one minute and weeping with tired the next
  79. Encourage her that a content household is rarely ever a perfect one
  80. Remember to always be kind to the mom on your flight
  81. Bring a goodie bag over for the new mom and not just the baby when you come to visit
  82. If you’re too far to bring over a meal, tell her dinner from her favorite delivery place is on you
  83. Tell her there’s no shame in cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  84. Make up midnight snacks for her to grab when she’s up feeding the baby
  85. Tell her not every photo needs to be perfect – sometimes the closer to real life, the better
  86. Give her the The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood for when she needs to laugh
  87. Give her Devotions for Sacred Parenting: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Parents for when she needs to be inspired
  88. Tell her matching socks are highly overrated
  89. Wash the baby bottles for her
  90. Tell her not to sweat store bought baby food, disposable diapers or pacifiers
    – whatever works, works
  91. Reassure her that perfect is merely a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land
  92. Tell her motherhood should come with a super hero cape, a really cute one with sparkles
  93. Buy her sparkly nail polish
  94. Tell her not to sweat everything Pinterest tells her she should be doing, baking, making and crafting for the baby
  95. Encourage her to embrace PJ days – even if they last for weeks
  96. Encourage her also to go spend two glorious hours at the hair dresser while you watch the baby
  97. Tell her about all the women who did all these things for you
  98. Assure her that just passing along the encouragement one day is thank you enough
  99. Remind her it’s the ordinary days that make the extraordinary memories
  100. Promise her it will just keep getting better
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